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date: 02 April 2020

Soul Trainlocked

One of the first nationally successful television shows conceived and produced by African Americans.
  • Eric Bennett

Extract

Soul Train creator Don Cornelius envisioned the show as a black analog to American Bandstand, a popular dance and music show. After gaining popularity in the early 1970s on a local channel in Chicago, Illinois, Soul Train was adopted by stations nationwide. The show appealed to a far broader audience than the black teenagers for whom Cornelius had designed it. Soul Train returned season after season during the 1980s and 1990s, charting the evolving trends of pop music by showcasing Rhythm and Blues, Soul Music, and eventually Rap.

Soul Train was among the few major television programs of the 1970s that did not portray blacks by drawing on formulas and Racial Stereotypes After the major civil rights victories of the 1960s which redressed overt legal injustices African Americans faced the equally formidable obstacle of ingrained cultural discrimination expressed both on and off screen The ...

A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.

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